the magic of åreskutan: 2019 FIS alpine world ski championships

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The magic of åreskutan: 2019 FIS alpine world ski championships
Standing atop Åreskutan, high above the tree line, you look out on a never-ending panorama of snow-covered forest stretching 100 km in every direction. It’s a magical place where humid air crystals refract light into a rainbow of color giving it a mystical aura. The moist winter air and sub-freezing temperatures create a layer of white rime ice – up to a meter thick – on lift towers and mountaintop buildings.
Standing atop Åreskutan, high above the tree line, you look out on a never-ending panorama of snow-covered forest stretching 100 km in every direction. It’s a magical place where humid air crystals refract light into a rainbow of color giving it a mystical aura. The moist winter air and sub-freezing temperatures create a layer of white rime ice – up to a meter thick – on lift towers and mountaintop buildings.

This February the mountain of Åreskutan will come alive as more than 600 athletes from over 65 nations will venture to this venerable Swedish resort of Åre to determine who is, indeed, the best ski racer in the world at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, where Longines will, once again, be the Official Timekeeper.
resort heritage of åre
Åre is a small community of just 1,400. But it has a big heart for ski racing. The village dates back to the 17th century when the region of Jämtland became a part of what is now Sweden. A railway connection in 1882 established Åre as a fresh air tourist destination.A funicular in 1910 set it on a course to become a winter sports resort. Sweden’s first downhill ski race, the Årebragden downhill in 1921, ushered in a new era in sport. It was ski coach Bibbo Nordenskiöld whose leadership brought the world to Sweden with the 1954 World Championships in Åre.

“Our village may be small but big events like this have a big impact on us – everyone loves it,” said World Championships CEO Niklas Carlsson. “Everyone is very proud!”

The sport of alpine skiing is well known for its unique resorts, each with its own special character – Aspen in America, Wengen in Switzerland, St. Anton in Austria, Lillehammer in Norway. Åre brings a magical combination of undulating mountain slopes blended with a community with an outdoor culture, a zest for the winter season and a liveliness in its hospitality. That heritage, which evolved over the past century, has served it well.

And, of course, there is the mountain which will challenge athletes to their performance limits!
a tricky test for the world’s best athletes
The World Championships are the ultimate test in the sport of alpine ski racing. Held only every two years, athletes have just one shot for gold! World Championships bring out the best: the most motivated athletes, the toughest race courses, the most passionate fans. This February Åre will be the host for a third time.

The cragged alpine peaks of St. Moritz two years ago with broad, sweeping race courses above the tree line, will give way to highly technical wooded slopes in Åre. In the start house of the downhill at the very tip top of Åreskutan, athletes will step forward with an imposing view down to the lake of Åresjön at the finish. They will drop first into the barren landscape, hurtling at high speed as the track winds into the thick forest – twisting and turning in relentless fashion.

The Åre World Championship courses will be defined by nuances – small, almost imperceptible changes in terrain that will favor technical racers like Longines Ambassadors of Elegance Aksel Lund Svindal and Mikaela Shiffrin. There is no rest on the courses in Åre. You have to be on your skis every second from start to finish. Your racing line must be perfect. There is little room for error.

The men’s downhill is a roller coaster course with huge jumps, high-speed sections and long traverses. It is very demanding! The women’s course is shorter but has no gliding sections at all.

In 2007, a young Aksel Lund Svindal came of age in Åre, sweeping his way to World Championship gold in giant slalom and downhill. He holds two World Cup victories from Åre, and was on the podium last March in the World Championship super-G test event.

Mikaela Shiffrin has four World Cup wins in Åre, including the slalom last March in the World Cup Finals. But she also suffered her only career injury there in a December, 2015 training accident. She wiped away that memory with a win there just three months later.
culture of outdoor sport and recreation
Åre sits in the western area of Jämtland, in west central Sweden – not far from Norway. The region is alive with mountains, lakes and streams, home to reindeer, bear, moose, lynx and wolverine. It’s ideal for winter sport with plentiful snow. At its core, Åre residents are sport participants – skiing in winter, mountain biking and hiking in the summer. Look up and you’re bound to see paragliders circling Åreskutan alongside the birds.

In the center of the village is the Åre Gamla Kyrka, a medieval stone church dating back to 1100. At the old Bergbanan mountain station at Hotell Fjällgården you can visit a museum documenting the native Sámi people. In Fröå Gruva, you have a stunning view of Åreskutan and a well-preserved copper mine that operated from 1744 until 1919.
elegance and hospitality in a quaint scandinavian village
Despite its modest size, the village boasts a vibrant resort scene with quaint, cozy hotels, small tucked-away restaurants with foodie menus and après-ski clubs. The Michelin-rated Fäviken just outside Åre offers a remarkable farm to table menu sourced in Jämtland. Right in Åre, Villa Tottebo, in an old home, offers a wonderful Arctic char and other regional specialties, with the Tottebo Bar one of the classic Åre gathering spots. Liten Krog is a small family-owned neighborhood restaurant serving a menu from pizza to tapas to steaks.

Sweden is well known for its baking. And one of country’s best innovations is the ‘fika’ – a cozy hang-out at a cafe to chat and have coffee and pastries.It’s a simple piece of Swedish social life. You can fika at many places in Åre including Lounge 365, Åre Bageri and the new pop-up Krus from the owners of Fäviken. If you’re at the race stadium, stop in to Grädda for a breakfast bun or croissant.

Socializing après ski begins at Verandan with live music. At night, Bygget offers Åre’s best live scene featuring six bars and three dance floors – all with an international flavor. And there’s always the historic Country Club.

The village offers unique shopping ranging from local handmade candles at Åre Ljusfabrik to private clothiers and, of course, the Åre Chokladfabrik featuring handmade pralines flavoured with local berries. The native Sami people’s reindeer culture is celebrated in the crafts at Åre Hemslöjd, a wonderful craft boutique in Åre Square.

an approach to sustainability
A source of particular pride to the organising committee is its approach to sustainability – something vitally important to athletes. Organisers have used innovation and technology to create a nearly fossil fuel-free World Championships. Unique vehicles and heating techniques have been employed, including snow grooming machines using alternative fuels.

“One of the main objectives of Åre 2019 is to stage the event with great respect for the environment,” said Carlsson. “We know that the bar was set very high with the fossil fuel-free championships initiative. But it has been no less impressive to see the engagement of the various partners to work out the details in order to make the bold vision become reality. We are en route to delivering something unique here.”

Åre 2019 has joined forces with the Jämtland County government as well as the organisers of the Östersund 2019 Biathlon World Championships in an effort to stage fossil fuel-free World Championships in 2019.

Sustainability is a key cause for today’s athletes. Longines Ambassador of Elegance Aksel Lund Svindal recently launched a new fashion line of his own around a key business principle of sustainability.

He and other athletes have used the platform of their recognition spread the message of sensitivity to the environment in which we live.

passion as centerpiece for alpine ski racing this february
Most of all what athletes will find in Åre is passion. It is a place with great heritage and pride of presentation as an international touristic destination. It has a heart for sport, born out of the legends of Sweden like Ingemar Stenmark.

And it will serve up a World Championships in style for the tens of thousands of international fans who will to the flanks of Åreskutan and for the nearly one billion around the world who will be watching.

A source of particular pride to the organising committee is its approach to sustainability – something vitally important to athletes. Organisers have used innovation and technology to create a nearly fossil fuel-free World Championships.
The low angle winter light in the high latitudes of Sweden paints the frozen landscape of Åreskutan.
city events
bringing the mountains to the city
Floodlights bathe light across the pristine white snow on the Hammarbybacken. From the top, athletes look out over the lights of Stockholm. In the finish, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden joins nearly 10,000 fans packed into the stadium to watch the best ski racers in the world. At night. Under the lights. With an atmosphere as exhilarating as a Premier League football match.

Ski racing’s innovative city events are bringing the mountain to the people!
head-to-head racing under the lights
The FIS Alpine Ski World Cup tour is evolving, creating more head-to-head parallel events and bringing them to the city. This year’s tour schedule will give fans in Oslo a New Year’s Day treat with an alpine ski racing event on the fabled ski jump at Holmenkollen. Sweden will cap off its two-week World Championship celebration in Åre with a closing night event in Stockholm.

“The main idea of city events is to bring the sport to big metro cities – being in the heart of an area where there are a lot of people,” said women’s tour director Atle Skårdal. “It gives athletes and fans alike an exhilarating, urban feeling.”

Parallel racing is not new. It is also showcased in the new nation’s team event at the World Championships. Metro area racing became more popular in the last decade, first with races in Munich’s Olympic Park and then in downtown Moscow.

“We were very sensitive to pick venues for city events in the beginning,” said Skårdal. “That was a key to the success. People in the city are event oriented and alpine ski racing fans. When they get an opportunity to follow the sport right outside their door they’ll do it.”
The city events utilize a modified form of parallel racing for both men and women. Racers go head-to-head down a slalom course that includes jumps. It’s short – like a sprint. It’s not about time from start to finish – it’s about the differential between the two racers across the line. The Longines technicians use precise electronic timing to determine the differential to a hundredth of a second. The two athletes get two runs against each other. To keep it interesting, the maximum gap is a half-second. So even with a crash on run one, both athletes still have an opportunity for the win. In the second run, the leader’s starting gate opens first with the challenger having to wait out the differential.
fans up close to the action
One of the keys to success in any sporting event is getting the fans close to the athletes. “When we build the venues for city events, we like to have grandstands along the side – close to the action – to bring fans even closer to the stars,” said FIS Men’s World Cup Chief Race Director Markus Waldner.

In Oslo, officials created a unique alpine slope starting adjacent to the Holmenkollen ski jump, wrapping into the steep landing hill. From there it’s a sprint to the finish. Holmenkollen Stadium is one of the most prestigious in ski sport where traditionally nordic ski jumpers would soar 140 meters. This New Year it will be hard-charging alpine ski racers testing themselves on the nearly vertical piste.

The Stockholm event in Hammarbybacken is on the edge of the city, with the 180 metre long race hill on a training slope for the local club Djurgårdens IF. It’s brilliant lights can be seen from all over the city. In 2016 it was named ‘Best Sports Event of the Year’ by the sports newspaper Sport & Affärer.Strong athletes from the home nation are a key to success. Both Sweden’s men and women put on quite a shot for the fans in 2017, but in the end it was Longines Ambassador of Elegance Mikaela Shiffrin taking the victory. Fireworks filled the sky at the post-race celebration as Sweden came alive with an electric event under the lights.

“It’s a really different form of racing,” said Shiffrin. “As an athlete you have to adjust your style. For the fans, it’s a new way to watch us race and a great promotion for our sport in the city environment.”
parallel racing expanding to world championships
The future is bright for city events and parallel racing. In addition to the city stops in Oslo and Stockholm, the men will race a parallel giant slalom at Alta Badia in the heart of the Italian Dolomites. The women are scheduled for a parallel slalom at the Swiss resort of
St. Moritz.

The World Cup tour also has its sights set on potential future locations – maybe a return to Munich Vienna, Milan or New York City. Waldner says that advances in snow making technology are opening up new opportunities.

Along the way, parallel racing is set to become eligible for a season-long crystal globe in the next few years. And it will make its World Championship debut in 2021 at Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Italian Dolomites.

The sun sets over Hammarbybacken on the outskirts of Stockholm as racers go head-to-head in a parallel slalom World Cup.
Olympiapark in Munich was the site of the original World Cup City Event, attracting thousands of fans in the center of the city.
Conquest V.H.P.
a new achievement with quartz
Conquest V.H.P.
Quartz movement / L288.2
(ETA E56.111)
Functions :

– hours
– minutes
– seconds
– date aperture at 3 o’clock
– perpetual calendar
Dials :

black, silvered, blue or carbon fibre, with 2 applied arabic numerals and 10 applied bar indexes with Super-LumiNova®;
V.H.P. inscription in red
Cases :

round, stainless steel, ø41 mm or ø43 mm ; sapphire crystal with multi-layered anti-reflective coating

Black “new noir” hands; stainless steel bracelet with triple safety folding clasp and push-piece opening mechanism; water- resistant up to 5 bar (50 meters)
Longines’ history with quartz has been one full of technical innovation and feats. In 1954, the brand developed a first quartz clock, which would quickly set a long series of precision records at the Neuchâtel Observatory. It was housed in the mythical Chronocinégines, an instrument that became a pioneer in the history of timekeeping, as it provided judges with a film strip composed of a series of prints at 1/100th of a second, allowing them to follow the movement of the athletes at the moment they crossed the finish line. In 1969, technological mastery led Longines to reveal the Ultra-Quartz, the first quartz movement conceived for a wristwatch. A huge stride was made in 1984 with the quartz calibre fitted in the Conquest V.H.P., setting a precision record for that time.
As an extension of these historic milestones, the winged hourglass brand has presented the Conquest V.H.P., equipped with a cutting-edge movement. This movement is renowned for its high degree of precision for an analogue watch (± 5 seconds/year) and its ability to reset its hands after an impact or exposure to a magnetic field, using the GPD (Gear Position Detection) system. These attractive features are likely responsible for its exceptional movement status, to which a very long battery life and a perpetual calendar must be added. In the true essence of Conquest, the ultimate sports line, this exceptional timepiece brings together high technicality and dynamic aesthetic. The Conquest V.H.P. has thus positioned itself as the standard-bearer of extreme precision.
These steel or black PVD watches are available in the 3 hands/calendar (ø41 and ø43 mm cases) and chronograph (ø42 and ø44 mm cases) versions. The chronograph displays hours, minutes and seconds, a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock and a 60-second counter in the centre. On each model, changes are made using the intelligent crown, while the E.O.L. indicator can preventatively signal the end of battery life. The Conquest V.H.P. collection models display blue, carbon fiber, silvered or black dials. A steel or black PVD bracelet or a blue or black rubber watch strap completes these exceptional timepieces.
Conquest V.H.P. GMT Flash Setting
Quartz movement / L287.2
(ETA E56.411)
Functions :

– hours
– minutes
– seconds
– date aperture at 3 o’clock
– perpetual calendar
– second time zone
Cases :

round, stainless steel or black PVD, ø41mm or ø43mm; sapphire crystal with multi-layered anti-reflective coating

Dials :

black, silvered, blue or carbon fibre with 2 applied Arabic numerals and 10 applied bar indexes with Super-LumiNova®; V.H.P. inscription in red; “Home Time” and “Travel Time” symbols at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock in red; Flash Setting photo-detector concealed in the number 1 at 12 o’clock

Black “new noir” hands; bracelet stainless steel with triple safety folding clasp and push-piece opening mechanism; water-resistant 5 bar (50 meters)
Conquest V.H.P. GMT Flash Setting : the watch made for frequent travelers
Longines presents a real technological innovation based on quartz: the Conquest V.H.P. GMT Flash Setting. Sporty and elegant, this watch is a must for travel lovers. It allows you to easily change time zones either manually, following watchmaking tradition, or by using the smart 'Flash Setting' system that sets the watch using flash pulses from a smartphone. This timepiece revolutionises both watchmaking precision and the user experience. With its second time zone and its 'Flash Setting' function, this watch expands Longines’ Conquest V.H.P. “Very High Precision” family, following the three-handed and chronograph versions.

Today, the Conquest V.H.P. “Very High Precision” line has expanded to include new GMT models. Like other variations available in this collection, the Conquest V.H.P. GMT Flash Setting houses an exclusive, cutting-edge movement that boasts a remarkable ability to simplify every aspect of the user experience: ultraprecision (±5 seconds/year), Gear Position Detection (GPD) system that resets the hands after an impact or magnetic field exposure, smart crown, very long battery life and perpetual calendar that extends to 2399.

However, the new Conquest V.H.P. GMT Flash Setting continues to push the V.H.P. technology further, providing globetrotters with even greater comfort. It is equipped with a second time zone and a light-driven management system, known as Flash Setting. A must for all travellers, this timepiece can be easily set manually using the crown, or through its innovative Flash Setting function. Flash Setting is what makes fast and direct time setting possible without using the crown, while providing rigorous precision in displayed time. The system relies on the user’s smartphone and dedicated application but requires no external connection, such as WiFi or Bluetooth. The information recorded in the application is transmitted via light sequences emitted by the smartphone’s flash to a tiny opening on the watch dial, concealed in the number 12. The Swap function offers another remarkable benefit, allowing the user to interchange home time and travel time on the display simply by applying pressure to the crown,
for even greater reading comfort anywhere in the world.

These steel or black PVD watches come in two sizes (41 and 43-mm diameter) and, in addition to a second time zone marked by a thin imperial arrow hand, display the hours, the minutes, the seconds and the date (perpetual calendar).

The handling of each model is made simple with the smart crown and Flash Setting system, while two distinct indicators (E.O.L. and E.O.E.) preventively signal the end of battery life. Conquest V.H.P. GMT Flash Setting models come with a blue, carbon fibre, silvered or black dial. All are stamped with “Home Time” and “Travel Time” symbols at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock respectively. A steel or black PVD bracelet or a blue or black rubber watch strap completes these exceptional timepieces.

Elegant and reliable, the Conquest V.H.P. GMT Flash Setting is poised to become the new benchmark for travel enthusiasts, and the cutting-edge of V.H.P. technology.